Sometimes it’s good to stand back and take a break, especially from the frantic pace of life and especially from the often frenetic world of social media and the internet.
Maybe it would be good for all of us to pause and slow down over the Easter period and take a rest from computer, laptop, tablet or phone.
Of course, if you wish, feel free to continue to post comments to the website over the Easter but comments will not be moderated or published until Easter Monday.
Joshua J. McElwee reports in the National Catholic Reporter on the Vatican-hosted conference of some 300 young people meant to advise Catholic bishops on the needs of youth today and that they “acknowledged that some in their generation want the church to change its teachings on so-called “polemical issues” such as same-sex marriage and use of contraception.”
Today’s liturgy gives a preview of the events we will celebrate between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday: the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. These events are also the focus of this and every Sunday celebration. We ask for God’s help in understanding their significance.
Brian Fahy, reflecting on his own life experiences, decides that “Emotional self-sufficiency is a destructive notion. We need the interplay of one another and the learning processes that enable us to move into emotional inter-dependence if a healthy life is to ensue.”
It is a timely reminder along with the call in The Tablet for seminary reform. “The seminary system dates from the sixteenth century, and aimed to produce experts in the Catholic faith. That’s all well and good; but there are other needs too. Modern priests should also be mature human beings who can understand the modern world without being absorbed by it.”
Chris McDonnell in a recent article in the Catholic Times writes of student attempts in the U.S. to bring about reform in gun laws where adults fail or refuse to do so.
He asks “What can the Church contribute to the discussion?” “We are quick-and rightly so-to condemn abortion. This .. crisis is also a matter of right to life and demands courageous action.”
Vatican News covers the story that the Australian Catholic Church, with the approval of Pope Francis, will hold a Plenary Council in 2020 to discuss its way forward in light of the challenges it faces in contemporary society.
With speculation that arrangements for Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland will be announced this week would it be too much to hope that a Council like Australia’s could be called for Ireland. It might have more lasting benefit that a Papal visit.
Seamus Ahearne casts and eye over recent happenings.
“We celebrated St Patrick. Was his father a deacon and his grandfather a priest? I don’t know. The accretions of history have decorated the story and there is great unsureness. But it doesn’t matter really, the essentials of faith and mission have survived. His Confessions are delightful in their simplicity; evocative as a story; inspirational in how God works despite our own shortcomings.”
In just over ten days time, the Easter Triduum will begin, at sunset on Holy Thursday. Today we pray for all the baptised for whom Easter brings renewal: may we be fit and ready to renew our promises when this Lent is over.
“The ACI strongly supports Pope Francis in his desire to make the WMOF an inclusive occasion, open to all. Everyone who supports this approach will be concerned by recent interventions by some conservative elements in the church who appear ready to obstruct the inclusive and compassionate approach being advocated by Pope Francis. We must act to ensure that those in our church and our society who feel marginalised and unwanted have a forum where they can articulate their particular concerns and describe the realities of life for their families in Ireland today. A forum where they can speak freely, knowing that they will be heard with compassion and where their views will be respected.
To this end the ACI are planning a pre-WMOF public event for Saturday, 14th April 2018 at the Hilton Hotel, Charlemont Place, Dublin 2.”
Sean McDonagh draws our attention to important findings of research carried out by marine scientists of the National University of Ireland Galway on the amount of plastic in fish in the northwest Atlantic.
Sean asks ‘Should the Churches be involved in protecting our oceans? Has a Justice and Peace group in any parish or diocese challenged the fact that our retail stores still force us to use single-use plastics?’.
Brendan Hoban looks at the latest statement by Cardinal Sarah.”Sarah advocates receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling as being more in line with tradition and more respectful than receiving it on the tongue.
He’s wrong on both counts.”
america magazine carries a short article about retired Pope Benedict affirming that “there is an internal continuity between the two pontificates.”
Seán McDonagh reminds us of the ongoing problems we are creating for our environment. In the words of Pope Francis we should not “fall into four perverse attitudes regarding the future of the planet: “denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions.”
This Sunday we come to the midpoint of Lent. The season is half over, and the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus is nearer to us. On this midway Sunday, it is traditional to honour mothers, praying for those still with us and remembering those who have died.
Joint Press Release by ‘We Are Church International” & ‘European Network Church on the Move’ marking Five Years of Pope Francis.
Seamus Ahearne reviews a new publication by Pádraig McCarthy.
“Whether you agree with Padraig McCarthy’s line of argument in this book or not, he ruthlessly presents the core questions. The seriousness of the proposed Referendum makes it important that his book be read and studied. He has done us a service.”
Updated with a summary of the main points made by Pádraig McCarthy
A report on the Voices of Faith International Women’s Day Conference from the National Catholic Reporter and the text of the talk given by former President Mary McAleese.
“Today, we challenge Pope Francis to develop a credible strategy for the inclusion of women as equals throughout the church’s root and branch infrastructure, including its decision-making.”
Kevin Hegarty, writing in The Mayo News, comments on the decision not to allow Mary McAleese express her views on Vatican property. Kevin sees the decision as a symptom of a huge problem. “This recent controversy highlights once again the density of patriarchy in the institutional Catholic Church. It is the last bastion of exclusive male domination in the western world.
Misogyny in the Vatican is draped in theological abstractions especially in regard to female ordination. Such patriarchy is as insidious and destructive as woodworm in furniture.”
‘We are Church’ in call to bishops; “The continued exclusion of women from all ministries including the priesthood and from executive functions in the Catholic Church is an injustice that must be ended. How can our Church continue to proclaim global justice for the marginalised when it accepts an injustice within the Church that marginalises half of its own members”
Brian Fahy ponders on what Salvation means today.
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